Frank Lampard is set for an emotional return to Chelsea as the club prepare to formally offer him the manager’s job.
Derby, Lampard’s current employer, will not stand in his way, provided Chelsea are respectful in their pursuit and pay £4million compensation.
Negotiations between Chelsea and their all-time leading goalscorer to become Maurizio Sarri’s successor will take place once permission is granted by the Rams. Sarri’s exit should be finalised this weekend after Juventus agreed to pay up to £8m compensation.
The pending return of club legend Lampard will help galvanise a fanbase that was
fractured during Sarri’s tumultuous reign. And Sportsmail understands there is a growing determination at Stamford Bridge to bring back more of the club’s legends.
Petr Cech is set to return in a technical role, though no final decision will be made until his Arsenal contract expires on June 30. There is also a long-standing desire to bring Didier Drogba back to the club in some capacity, while former midfielder Claude Makelele, who quit as manager of Belgian side Eupen yesterday, has also been linked with a return.
Lampard would bring Chelsea academy graduate Jody Morris and former coach Chris Jones with him from Derby.
There are obvious concerns in the Chelsea hierarchy about Lampard’s lack of experience, having been a manager for just one season. But his proven track record working with talented young players, as shown at Derby last season, is an attractive commodity given the club’s looming transfer ban.
Lampard, though happy at Derby, would find it almost impossible to turn down a move back to Chelsea. Cech’s expected return would smooth his route back to west London, having been close in their playing days at the Bridge.
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has his admirers in the Blues’ boardroom but sources in Holland believe he will spend another year in Amsterdam, while former Juventus boss Max Allegri ruled himself out.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and Watford’s Javi Gracia were also linked with the job but both would be extremely difficult to get out of their respective clubs.
Lampard, who is beginning the final stage of his UEFA coaching qualifications, turned up two days late for a recent study trip in France with the FA’s new Pro Licence candidates, fuelling speculation among other attendees he was in urgent meetings to facilitate his way back to Chelsea.
Chelsea are keen for Sarri’s No 2 Gianfranco Zola to stay at the club, though the final decision will be left to the new boss.
Meanwhile, Mateo Kovacic’s loan move from Real Madrid is unlikely to be made permanent.Daily Mail